It’s been a while since I wrote about credit cards, but I thought now would be a good time because of a recent rule change that Chase made this past week that’ll likely change up your travel hacking strategy. For sure, it’ll change up the Chase 5/24 Strategy that I laid out in a previous post (read that post for what I think is the optimal strategy for new travel hackers).
As reported on Doctor of Credit, Chase recently made a change that essentially limits you to earning the bonus on either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It’s a bit of a bummer because it means you’re going to be able to earn less Chase Ultimate Rewards Points – at least 50,000 fewer points for most people.
You’ll still want to prioritize Chase branded cards before jumping to other cards simply because of the Chase 5/24 Rule, but you’ll need to know a little bit more info if you want to do it right. Here’s what you need to know:
The New Chase Rule: One Sapphire Card Per Person
As a bit of background, Chase has three cards that are included in its Sapphire line of cards. These include the following cards:
- Chase Sapphire;
- Chase Sapphire Preferred; and
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
This is what has happened under the new rule:
- As of right now, you can only have one Chase Sapphire branded card per person.
- If you already have multiple Chase Sapphire Cards (like I do), nothing will happen. They won’t close your accounts or anything like that.
- You can upgrade or downgrade your Chase Sapphire branded card if you want, but you’re not going to get a bonus if you do that.
- If you close a Chase Sapphire card, you have to wait 24 months to get the bonus again.
Breaking it down, essentially what has happened is that Chase is basically treating the Sapphire card as one, single card. Before this rule, people like us would open up the Chase Sapphire Preferred, snag the signup bonus, and then go ahead and open up the Chase Sapphire Reserve and snag the signup bonus for that card.
Indeed, that’s exactly what I did this year when I started travel hacking – I opened up the Chase Sapphire Preferred, snagged my 50,000 bonus points, then opened up the Chase Sapphire Reserve and snagged another 50,000 bonus points for that card. We were planning to do the same thing for my wife later this year.
With the new rule, now one person can’t open up both cards. Instead, you’ll have to pick. For travel hackers, that’ll be a 50,000 point hit, since you’ll only be able to snag 50,000 bonus points from one card, instead of snagging 50,000 bonus points from each card. It’s even worse for couples now, since you’re looking at 100,000 fewer points you can earn – each spouse can only pick one of the cards instead of picking both like they could before.
Which Chase Sapphire Card Should You Pick?
Since you can only pick one Chase Sapphire Card, it’d probably make sense to figure out which one you should go for.
Here are the main differences between the two cards that we care about (there are more differences in benefits and things like that, but they don’t really matter that much to me):
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – $95 annual fee that’s waived in the first year, points are worth 1.25 cents per point through Chase travel portal.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – $450 annual fee (not waived in the first year), $300 travel credit per statement year, points are worth 1.5 cents per point through Chase travel portal, access to Priority Pass lounges and $100 towards global entry credit.
Which card you pick will really depend on the value you get from the cards.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick and the one I recommend for anyone who’s scared of getting into the travel hacking space. The big thing with the Preferred is that the $95 annual fee is waived in the first year. That means, if you wanted to, you could sign up for the Preferred, get your signup bonus, use your points, then downgrade the card to a Chase Freedom or Freedom Unlimited. You basically get the bonus points without having to pay anything. It’s perfect for anyone who’s just wanting to dip their toes into the world of travel hacking since there’s pretty much no downside risk.
On the other hand, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a unique thing where you can double dip the $300 travel credit, basically getting $600 worth of travel credits while paying just one $450 annual fee. Essentially, if you do this, Chase is paying you $150 to have the card for the first year. It takes a little bit of work to pull this off though. You’ll need to wait until you’re in year 2 of your card, then immediately use up your $300 travel credit in year 2. You’ll then need to downgrade your card within 30 days and ask Chase to refund your annual fee (Chase’s current policy is to refund your annual fee if you get rid of the card within 30 days of paying the annual fee).
Suggested Strategy With The One Sapphire Card Per Person Rule
With the new Chase Rule in place, your strategy is going to change a little bit if you’re just starting out travel hacking and are looking to optimize your cards.
Before this rule, you’d just grab both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Obviously, you can’t do that now.
- My recommendation is to first start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. For those of you who are planning to double dip the travel credit, the Reserve is the one to go for. If you’re not planning to do the double dip, then go with the Preferred. If you’re new to travel hacking and want to take things easy, go with the Preferred (this is assuming they all have the same signup bonuses, of course).
- After that, snag yourself the Chase Ink Preferred (I’m planning to write more about this awesome card in a future post). It’s a business card, so you’ll technically need a business, but if you’re side hustling like I’ve been doing, you’ll have yourself a business, which then makes you eligible to get the card. Right now, the Chase Ink Preferred is offering an 80,000 point signup bonus, which is the highest Chase signup bonus out there.
- From there, snag yourself the United MPE, the Chase Marriott, and the Southwest Plus and Premier card in any order you want until you’re over 5/24. If you’re going for the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll want to start with the Southwest cards first.
- Once you’ve run through the Chase cards or are over 5/24, then jump to any other sweet credit card deals you see.
So this is what you need to know right now about the new Chase one Sapphire Card per person rule. If you feel like supporting this site at all, feel free to sign up for any of the cards I mentioned above using the links in the post. You’ll still get the same signup bonus, but I’ll get a bonus as well that helps me keep the content flowing.
Hit me up if you have any questions!